What an experience! The wife researched and found a place called Musica Palazzo before our recent trip, and I’m so glad she did–Musica Palazzo offers a very intimate opera experience where, for a reasonable fee, you see a three act opera performed right in front of you in a palazzo on Venice’s storied Grand Canal (it’s known as Palazzo Barbarigo and is just blocks from San Marco). The palazzo is part of the attraction, as it’s dark, mysterious, and elegant in the way only a baroque Venice mansion that’s decaying beautifully can be.
You’re led upstairs and seated in the middle of the “piano nobile” (noble’s floor), where the handful of performers and the four piece orchestra appear and deliver a two hour version of a Verdi classic like La Traviata or Il Rigoletto. Having professional opera performers belting out classics only a few feet from you in the confines of a Venetian plaza on a spring evening in Venice? Remarkable. Even if you’re not a huge fan of or familiar with opera, rest assured you’ll enjoy the heck out of it. Dramatic, emotional, and moving.
You realize quickly what a talent it is these folks have, and how important it is here in the home of opera itself for this old tradition to be preserved. For a night, you get to pretend you’re a 17th century Venetian patrician and think about what life in Venice’s heyday would have felt like in the most intimate way imaginable; the three acts (we saw La Traviata) are each performed in a different room of the palazzo, and prosecco and red wine are served during the intermission. An elegant, luxurious experience.
You really do feel like the show is unfolding right in front of you, and if you have the good fortune to spend a few nights in Venice, you really should include this as part of your itinerary.
(You weren’t allowed to take photos of the performance, but I did sneak a shot of the wife and myself and the ceiling of the palazzo. Don’t tell anyone, hehe…though I doubt they’ll mind).